May 28, 2010
You probably know by now that websites do a lot more than act as digital newspaper ads. There’s a lot of functionality that you can include in your site – things that make it look cool by adding a few moving elements like slideshow, or add connectivity like putting in Facebook icons and so on. Here’s a description, although not all-inclusive of the things I can put into your site.
Email capturing is the process of getting people to give you their email from your website. Usually what happens is that people come to your site, see an offer to get something for free in exchange for giving them your email. They fill out their name and email in a form field and send it to you.
Their email goes into an email marketing software that you or I set up. Email marketing software is great because it lets you keep track of all sorts of things that you need to know – how many people read your email, or click on an advertising link for example. Also, it become a pain in the butt to keep track of all the people who subscribe or unsubscribe if you try to do this part manually with your email software, like Outlook.
I use an online software called iContact and I’m an affiliate for them as well. Learn more about email marketing here.
A featured content slider is a great way to display a bunch of information or images without using up lots of screen real estate. Usually they’re found on the home page and displays information that you want to highlight, like a promotion, an upcoming event and so on. They slide as the name suggests and create movement on your site, which catches the eye. Best of all none of it is Flash, so it’s viewable on all mobile devices including iPhones and iPads. See an example.
Within your site, I install some software and link it to your Google Analytics account, or create one for you within my account. Google Analytics tracks all sorts of statistics that you need to know to run your business – things like what keywords people used to find your site, which countries they’re from, how many visitors you’ve had to your site (especially important if you run promotions to see how effective your marketing is), and so on.
Having a photo gallery is key especially if you are in the service or people business. A friend of mine who ran a networking group made great use of his photo gallery. After every networking event, he would post pictures of the night before onto his website, and then send an email to his list that the pictures were up. Within minutes he could track the spike in visitor activity. What a great way to get people to come back to his site, over and over again.
Your photo gallery is easy to use and highly scalable. You can basically put as many pictures in as you’d like, change the order around, and so on. See an example.
A video gallery is a great way to show off your product or service without creating columns and columns of text. There are many ways to configure video galleries, but here is one of my favorites.
What good is a website if people can’t find it? That’s where SEO comes in. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Search engines are sites like Google, Yahoo and Bing that are dedicated to helping you find something on the Internet by typing in keywords. Keywords are simply words or phrases that people use to find something they’re looking for. The SEO Plugin is a feature that simplifies the process of putting in your keywords and website description so that you increase the chance of your clients finding you.
A slideshow adds movement to your website (who needs another dull, static webpage?) and maximizes on screen real estate. You get to move the order of the pictures around and add more later on. See an example here.
It seems that social media is everywhere today and everyone is talking about them. If you’re not sure what they’re referring to, social media is all the online services that connect you with other people – sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn… there are hundreds of them now.
Adding a social media icon, like a Facebook icon that links to your Facebook page, can really help you connect with your clients. On the other hand, if you put up a Facebook icon just to have it, but never update or visit your Facebook account, then it’s pretty useless. My advice is to add social icons to your site that you know you will use, not just because everyone else is doing it.